In our last blog, we discussed our first purpose – to know, love, and follow Jesus. We must start there. “It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11, The Message). We cannot fully understand and fulfill our specific purpose in life until we fulfill our first purpose, which is to know, love, and follow Jesus.
Today we will look at our general purpose. Not only does everyone have a specific purpose that is unique to each individual, we also have a general purpose as humans. This purpose is not unique to individuals. It is universal for all mankind.
I get some of the wording and format below from Rick Warren. I believe he has explained the general purpose for all of us better than anyone I know, even me. I have used his words and turned them into something that makes them a little easier to remember. I call it three ships, a try (pronounced tree), and an ism.
Our general purpose, the purpose that God has for all of us and wants all of us to do and fulfill, is three ships, a try (tree) and an ism. I first discovered this in Rick Warrens’ book, The Purpose Driven Church (1995). He later wrote about the same subject in The Purpose Driven Life (2002).
Ship 1 – Worship
God wants all of us to worship him. This is not for a chosen few. It is for everyone. Loving God with everything you have and everything you are is our worship. It includes worshipping him with other followers of Jesus on Sunday morning but it also goes beyond that as well. Worshipping God is not an event. It is a lifestyle.
Ship 2 – Fellowship
God wants all of us to have deep, meaningful relationships with other followers of Jesus. This is another purpose for the church. When we are not actively involved with a church, we are negatively affecting our relationships with other followers of Jesus. Again, it goes deeper than just meeting with other followers of Jesus on Sunday morning or having a fellowship meal together. It is about building deep, meaningful relationships with them. We need each other.
Ship 3 – Discipleship
Discipleship simply means growing to become more like Jesus. God wants all of us to grow in that relationship with him. This is another reason we must be an active part of a church body.
Try (Tree) – Ministry
God wants all of us to be involved in ministry. Some may be in paid ministry and others in volunteer ministry, but we all have a ministry to fulfill. Ministry is serving God by serving other people. Find out how you can best use your strengths, gifts, and passions to serve God.
Ism – Evangelism
Evangelism is simply telling those who do not know Jesus about Jesus. God wants all of us to do evangelism. Be ready to share your story of what your life was like before you decided to follow Jesus, why you decided to follow Jesus, and how your life has changed since you made that decision. This is not just for paid staff members of a church. It is for everyone who has made the decision to follow Jesus.
Our general purpose is three ships, a try (tree) and an ism. Before you can fulfill this purpose you must fulfill your first purpose. And before you can adequately fulfill your specific purpose you must fulfill your first and general purpose. In the next blog, we will look in more detail at our specific purpose.
Warren, Rick (1995). The Purpose Driven Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Warren, Rick (2002). The Purpose Driven Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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